Sacramento River Cats Fall to Fresno Grizzlies 7-3

All photos by Shawn Jonas

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA. – It was all Adam Duvall for the Sacramento River Cats Saturday night at Raley Field. The 2015 All-Star was 3-for-4 with three home runs in his first three at bats. It was the first three-homer game of Duvall’s professional career and the first such game for the River Cats this season.

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“I felt like I was picking it up early tonight, so when I got one I wanted to hit I was able to get the barrel on it,” Duvall said after the game. “I’ve been working lately on getting my hips square to the plate so I can drive the ball, pull the bat through the zone instead of whipping it.”

The corner infielder entered the night tied for first in the PCL with 17 home runs before launching his second inning shot to left field on a 1-2 pitch. His second home run was a mammoth shot to left, landing halfway back atop the River Cats clubhouse. His third homer led off the seventh inning, just clearing the left field wall.

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“I had to kind of take a step back to move forward,” explained Duvall, whose batting average had dropped rapidly in June before slowly climbing in recent weeks. “I was landing open a lot and I think I overcompensated recently, and was landing super closed. But tonight it felt right, like I was getting back to square.”

The All-Star is now hitting .267 with 20 home runs and 60 RBIs this season.

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Duvall is the first River Cats hitter to homer three times in a game this season and tied the franchise-high for a single game. The feat was last achieved almost exactly a year ago by outfielder Shane Peterson, who hit three home runs in a 10-7 River Cats win on July 17, 2014.

The River Cats were unable to get much else going, getting only two other hits to go with Duvall’s homers. Jarrett Parker doubled over the head of the centerfielder and Trevor Brown singled in the fifth as the River Cats dropped their second straight to the Fresno Grizzlies, 7-3. River Cats pitchers walked a season-high eight and allowed the Grizzlies to steal eight bases. The eight stolen bases allowed are a franchise-high for Sacramento.

The two teams will meet one more time at Raley Field in tomorrow afternoon’s finale. Tommy Hanson (0-1, 4.50) will make his first home start for Sacramento as he takes on Fresno’s righty Mike Hauschild (2-2, 4.05). First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. and gates will open at 11:00 a.m. for Fin Fest.

Sacramento Republic FC Falls to LA Galaxy II 0-4 in Preski’s Last Match as Head Coach

Photo by Shawn Jonas

Despite some early chances for Sacramento Republic FC, LA Galaxy II got on the score sheet first in the 18th minute. Midfielder Alejandro Covarrubias received the ball in the middle of the field and attacked the center of the defense. Republic FC defender Nemanja Vuković stepped up to try to make a tackle in the box, but Covarrubias was able to slide a pass to Jamie Villareal on the left wing. Villareal took one touch and sent a shot near post and past keeper Patrick McLain for an early 1-0 Los Dos lead.

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Republic FC were relentless going into halftime, with a flurry of chances coming from Max Alvarez, Emrah Klimenta, David Estrada and Justin Braun. A few missed shots and a diving save from LA Galaxy II keeper Clement Diop kept the scoreline 1-0 in favor of Los Dos going into halftime.

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LA Galaxy II came out firing in the second half, scoring in the 47th minute. After a giveaway in the middle of the field, Los Dos swung the ball out wide to Jack McBean, who sent a cross into the box for midfielder Ariel Lassiter. Lassiter skied over the defense and drilled a header off of McLain’s glove which then hit the bottom of the crossbar and down past the line for a goal.

LA Galaxy II added another goal in the 50th minute when midfielder Andre Auras bent a free kick over the wall and past a diving McLain, who got a glove to it, and into the back of the net for a 3-0 lead.

LA Galaxy II forward McBean scored Los Dos’ fourth and final goal in the 76th minute. The goal pushed the final score line to 4-0 in favor of the visitors.

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“Sometimes that is football”, said Republic FC Head Coach Preki. “You just don’t get the result you are looking for. I am really proud of our effort.”

Republic FC will be back in action on Tuesday, July 14, when they take on English Premier League side, Sunderland AFC at Bonney Field. Kickoff is 8:00 p.m. Tickets for the match are still available and may be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.

Game Recap Courtesy to the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations

San Jose SaberCats Cruise Past New Orleans Voodoo 56-35

All photos by Shawn Jonas

SAN JOSE – With a record breaking performance, the San Jose SaberCats (14-1) cruised past the New Orleans VooDoo (2-12) 56-35 at the SAP Center on Friday night.

In the third quarter, defensive back Ken Fontenette broke current SaberCats’ Assistant Head Coach Omarr Smith’s franchise record of 114 total tackles in a season, set in 2008. Fontenette also set a season-high with 17.5 tackles in a single game.

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“It’s a great honor, anytime you do anything to get your name in the record books for this franchise,” said Fontenette. “It’s all about the win and about the team and everyone has just set their individual goals aside.”

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On the opening drive, the VooDoo drove down into the SaberCats’ territory before veteran defensive back Clevan Thomas halted the drive by making a one-handed interception in the end zone. Taking advantage of the turnover, the SaberCats got on the board first when Reggie Gray hauled in a 13- yard touchdown pass from quarterback Erik Meyer.

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On the ensuing drive, VooDoo quarterback Adam Kennedy threw his second pick, this time by a diving effort from Fredrick Obi, his fourth interception in four games this season. San Jose capitalized on its fortune with a 10-yard touchdown reception by Darius Reynolds, extending its lead to 14-0. Reynolds finished with seven receptions for 73 yards and the one touchdown.

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The VooDoo would answer, as Chris Duvalt, the leading receiver for New Orleans, grabbed an 11- yard touchdown, cutting the San Jose lead to14-7 with 4:35 remaining in the second quarter. Duvalt finished with a game-high 15 receptions for 165 yards and added three touchdowns.

After trading touchdowns, San Jose extended its lead when Meyer scrambled in from the one-yard line for the score as time expired in the first half, giving the SaberCats a 28-14 halftime lead. Meyer finished with 229 passing yards, completing 76.7-percent of his passes, throwing for seven touchdowns, adding another on the ground.

Late in the third quarter, San Jose forced a New Orleans turnover on downs, scoring immediately as Meyer lofted a beautiful touch pass for Ben Nelson, who made an over the shoulder catch in the end zone before crashing into the boards, extending the SaberCats lead to 42-14.

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“They played with a lot of energy,” said Arbet. “That was the thing that we talked about coming out of the bye and I thought that they did that tonight.”

The VooDoo would answer on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Kennedy to Johnny Lester, cutting the SaberCats lead to 42-21. However, the SaberCats remained in control, as Meyer would connect with Gray for two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Gray finished with a team-high nine receptions for 92 yards and four touchdowns and is now two receptions away from breaking Rodney White’s franchise record of 134 receptions in a season, also set in 2008.

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“We work very hard as a receiving core to be where we need to be when we need to be there,” said Gray. “Just getting that chemistry to where Erik can trust us and we get into the game and try to execute.”

Leading the league with 40 sacks on the season, the SaberCats added three, led by defensive lineman Jason Stewart, who had two. Stewart brought his season sack total to 10, joining teammate Francis Maka (10.5) as the two lone SaberCats with double-digit sacks on the season.

“They are as good as there is right now,” Owner and Head Coach Darren Arbet said about his defensive front. “It’s tough for quarterbacks to sit there and try to throw the ball downfield with those guys barreling down on you.”

Rich Ranglin, the 2014 AFL Offensive Lineman of the Year, added a 13-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter, bringing his total to six touchdowns on the season, doubling his total of three a year ago.

“Rich is a versatile tight end, which he self-proclaims,” said Gray about his teammate. “He is one of the best blockers in the league and his ability to come out of the backfield and catch the ball it allows teams not to key in on the receivers we have.”

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Next week, the SaberCats will host Pacific Division foe the Portland Thunder on Saturday, July 18th in the third and final regular season games between the two teams.

Game Recap Courtesy of the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

Sacramento River Cats Fall Short to Fresno Grizzlies 8-5

Photos by Shawn Jonas

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA. – The Sacramento River Cats put together the beginnings of a comeback in the bottom of the ninth inning, loading the bases with no outs, but were unable to push through on Star Wars night at Raley Field as they fell 8-5 to the Fresno Grizzlies. Kevin Frandsen continued to stay hot at the plate, driving in three for the River Cats in the loss.

Frandsen was the hero of last night’s 15-inning game, delivering a walk-off RBI-double to send the River Cats home with the win. He did what he could to propel the team again tonight, going 2-for-2 with a walk, a sacrifice fly, a triple, and 3 RBIs. The triple was Frandsen’s first of the season and gave him two extra-base hits and four RBIs in his last four at bats.

Frandsen’s triple drove in two as a part of a four-run eighth inning and was also the first extra-base hit of the night. Prior to the three-bagger, the River Cats and Grizzlies had combined for 18 hits – all singles.

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One of those singles belonged to Kelby Tomlinson. With a first-inning base knock to center, the second baseman extended his hit streak to nine. Tomlinson was 2-for-5 overall and has now reached base safely in 13 straight games. He is hitting .338 since joining Sacramento on June 26.

The Grizzlies scored 5 of their 8 runs in the seventh inning, jumping out to an 8-1 lead over the River Cats. 5 singles, a walk, and a River Cats error contributed to Fresno’s big inning.

Nik Turley (3-4, 5.56) took his fourth loss of the season, giving up 3 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits and a walk with 4 strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work. Turley’s ERA over his last five starts has been a spectacular 2.66 and he has posted a 23:8 K:BB ratio. Since rejoining the River Cats rotation on June 2, Turley is 3-3 with a 4.76 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 39.2 innings.

Left-hander Luis Cruz (5-4, 4.52) picked up the win, throwing 6 innings and allowing 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks with 3 strikeouts. Kevin Chapman recorded the save, his seventh of the season.
Jack Snodgrass (1-1, 3.24) will make his second start for the River Cats tomorrow night. Snodgrass has made six relief appearances since joining Sacramento, including 3 innings of 1-run ball against the Grizzlies. Opposite him will be right-hander Brady Rodgers (7-4, 4.39) for Fresno. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.

Prior to tomorrow’s River Cats first game, the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team will play against the Sacramento All-Stars. Game time is set for 3:30 p.m. and gates will open at 3:00 p.m.

Game Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

John Madden Remembers Ken Stabler; Q & A Media Conference Call Transcript

John Madden On The Passing Of Ken Stabler

Opening statement from Coach Madden: “Yesterday was a very sad day with the passing of Ken Stabler. It was a shock to all of us. You think that Kenny is one of those guys that whatever you throw in front of him, it’s not going to get him down. Then, when you hear Kenny Stabler died, it’s like a kick in the gut. You think of the good times and the memories, all of the games and all of the practices and all of the meetings. No matter what you throw in front of him, he enjoyed it. He always had a twinkle in his eye and a smile. He was one of the greatest competitors ever. When you think of the Raiders and you think of the Raiders of the 70s, Ken Stabler has to be right on top. He was just, of all the people you coach, and I coached a lot of great ones and a lot of Hall of Famers, he’s one of the guys that is really at the top of the class.”

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Madden Remembers Ken “The Snake” Stabler Q & A

Q: Can you think of a logical reason that Ken Stabler is not in the Hall of Fame?

Madden: “No. If you just look at how he played and what kind of quarterback he was, he’s a Hall of Fame quarterback. I think what happens is we get so caught up today in statistics and then comparing statistics. You can’t do that with different eras. For example, when we threw a medium range pass it was 17 yards deep. Now a medium range pass would be 8-10 yards. We didn’t have any of those smokescreens or when you split it out and throw one yard passes, or throw passes behind the line of scrimmage. I’m not saying that’s wrong, that’s the way they play today. But then you look at his stats and his completions and interceptions, the deeper you throw, the more you’re going to have but the more big plays you’re going to have. Then you compare those to the players today and it’s not fair. That’s the only thing that I can think of. If you were to look at Kenny Stabler as an Oakland Raider… we had great rivalries with the Miami Dolphins, who were one of the greatest teams in the history of the NFL, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were also one of the best in the history of the NFL. Terry Bradshaw is in the Hall of Fame and Bob Griese is in the Hall of Fame, and look at Kenny’s record when he played those teams.”

Q: In the last few years there, after the Super Bowl, could you talk about how the tension between Al Davis and Ken Stabler?

Madden: “Not really. There was nothing there. That’s not a thing. I’ll tell you, we won the Super Bowl in the 1976 season, which was ’77. The best team, to me, in the history of the Oakland Raiders was the next year, was ‘77, the year after we won a Super Bowl. We went back, we beat Pittsburgh in the playoffs and they didn’t have Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier, and that was one of the things they said. The next year, early in the season, we went back and we played Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh and we beat them there. That was the hardest fought, hardest played game that I can remember. It was also the height of the Raiders. I don’t think there was a ever a team before that or after that who was better than the Raiders. Having said that, we had a lot of injuries in that game. We struggled. We lost the Championship that year to Denver. There was nothing there after the Super Bowl because I thought we were better after the Super Bowl than we were the Super Bowl year. Although the Super Bowl year we only lost one game.”

Q: You were with the organization when they drafted Ken. Can you remember the circumstances?

Madden: “Yeah I do. It was ironic. We drafted another quarterback in the first round, Edlridge Dickey. We were kind of choosing between the two. We had Kenny Stabler rated as the number one pick. So, we took Eldridge Dickey from Tennessee State and then in the next round, the second round, and Kenny Stabler is still there. So we said he’s too good of a player to leave on the board in the second round so we took him. We ended up with two of them. What we didn’t know, and scouting back then isn’t what it is today, is that he had injured his knee and that he needed surgery. We brought him in and then he had to have the surgery so he missed that whole first year. He missed the second year so he really didn’t start playing for the Raiders until the third year that we drafted him.”

Q: Did you ever come to Alabama to visit with Coach Bryant to talk about Ken?

Madden: “Yeah I talked to Coach Bryant about him a lot. I had the greatest respect for Bear Bryant and his quarterbacks. I had George Blanda, who played for Coach Bryant at Kentucky. George would always talk about Coach Bryant, this and that. He was a well-disciplined, well-trained quarterback. Then I had great respect for Joe Namath. I thought, if we can get a quarterback that’s like George Blanda and like Joe Namath on our team, that’s going to be a pretty good deal. Eventually, we did.”

Q: You mentioned yesterday in your statement that you trusted Ken because he was ‘cooler’ under pressure than you. How would you describe his demeanor? How did you balance each other?

Madden: “He helped me because the hotter the game, the hotter I got and Kenny was truly just the opposite, the hotter the game, the cooler he became. We’re playing Baltimore in a playoff game in Baltimore and it was one of the real great games in NFL history, the kind that got lost because it wasn’t a championship game or a Super Bowl game. It went six periods. The end of regulation, we’re tied, and we go another period and then we’re tied and then we’re going into another period. We had a timeout and it’s our ball. We’re just crossing midfield. I’m talking to Kenny during the timeout and he has his helmet cocked back and he’s looking up at the stands and I’m saying let’s do this, let’s do this. Then, he says, ‘you know what, John?’ and I thought, ‘oh great, he has a play.’ So I asked him ‘what?’ and he said ‘these fans are getting their money’s worth today.’ That’s the way he was. I was going all over the board on what we should do, and he was just cool, looking up into the stands. In the Super Bowl against Minnesota, the first couple of drives we got stopped and had to kick field goals. I was all upset about not being able to finish and score. Kenny put his hand on my shoulder and said ‘don’t worry about that, John, there’s plenty more where that came from.” It did affect me. I thought, when he said that, he’s right. I felt a heck of a lot better about it. It was the whole team. That’s what he gave to the team. He would throw a bad pass and it didn’t bother him. He would forget it and go on to the next one. He’d throw a low pass into the dirt and he’d move on to the next play. He didn’t let things affect him. He was always positive. In those days, the quarterback called the plays. There was a lot to that, too. Sometimes we forget how smart Kenny Stabler was. He was a brilliant quarterback with a brilliant football mind. He would set things up. There’s a thing that they don’t even judge anymore, called field general. Ken Stabler was a true field general. The offensive players really believed and followed him. Anything that came out of his mouth, they totally believed.”

On The Field Reports’ Shawn Jonas Asks John Madden: 

Q: Could you tell us a story or a quote on things that Kenny would say postgame, after the win or loss?

Madden: “We didn’t have a lot of losses. After the game, he wasn’t one to say a lot. He didn’t give speeches before the game and he didn’t give speeches after the game. He just enjoyed it. He enjoyed football. He enjoyed practice, he enjoyed playing. He enjoyed every part of it. He enjoyed living. After the game, he was just thinking of the next thing. His leadership was brought about the way he presented himself, held himself, and the esteem his teammates held him in.”

Q: Did he say anything after the Holy Roller game?

Madden: “No. I think after that Holy Roller game, you think of Kenny Stabler and you think about how he was involved in more name games than anyone. We were all in shock after that game. We had used our last timeout and we called a play and the last thing I said to Kenny when we went out, I said ‘no matter what happens, the ball has to come out of your hands. We cannot take a sack,’ because the game would have been over. So, he knows that. He’s thinking that and he starts to scramble, he starts to get tackled, he knows he has to get rid of the ball and he does. The rest is history. After that, it was just kind of shock. The day or two after that, then it kind of became like oh yeah, that was a play we work on, we knew what we were doing, and all that bologna. The bologna didn’t follow right after the game.
Q: Thinking back on the character that was Kenny Stabler, was there ever a moment where, knowing he was that kind of free spirited character that you were afraid he’d get that phone call that night before a game. Do you have any stories of that?

Madden: “No. No, because he wasn’t that way. That was, at the time when I was with him, that was overplayed and overrated, and that wasn’t the way he was. I made a deal with him and I don’t know if it would work today, but I made a deal with him that I won’t mess with him in the offseason. I didn’t have one of those things where you have him come in for minicamp, OTAs and all that stuff. I just let him go. I said the offseason is yours, but the tradeoff is you give me the season. The season is mine. And you know I mean anything that I say that we have to do during the season is done. We had meetings before practice, we had meetings after practice, we had meetings at night, and he was always there, he was always attentive, and like I said, he was a brilliant guy, and the stories about him that came out later, to me, the Kenny Stabler, that I know, the stories were vastly exaggerated.
There’s one story, I don’t know if anyone remembers this, someone was talking to his mother about Kenny, and saying, you know, he’s this and he’s that he’s wild and he stays up all night and he does all these things and his mother says, ‘You’re not talking about Kenny, you’re talking about his daddy.’ And I always thought of that quote and I always thought that there’s quite a bit of truth in that.”

Q: How aware would you say you were of the severity of Stabler’s cancer, how advanced it was, and what do you think it says about him that he made it such, that he kept to himself, that so many of his former teammates didn’t have any idea?

Madden: “Yeah, I was unaware. I was not aware of that he had cancer, and I didn’t. That was a big part of the shock, but if you know Kenny Stabler that’s Kenny Stabler. We used to have a thing. Kenny Stabler never went into the training room. And he didn’t want any of his teammates to ever see him getting treatment. He never went in the training room. He wouldn’t be seen in there, he wouldn’t step in there. So, I thought, well this is ridiculous because he would take a little beating during these games too, and he needed treatment. So I would talk to him about it and he just didn’t want to go in the training [room]. So I said, well you know, let’s do it at night, so you know when everyone leaves. And you know George Anderson our trainer would come back at like nine o’clock at night and that’s when he got his treatment. But, he didn’t want any of his teammates to ever see him in the training room getting treatment. And I think that probably followed him through life.”

Q: I was just hoping you could tell us kind of a story, maybe not on the field, but about Ken Stabler that kind of epitomized who he was as a person?

Madden: “Well, you know the thing was, he was always, always ready to help in any way he could. And, when he would go out he was always polite. I mean he was a real southern gentleman, you know. And, he was, we would have post game parties and he would be around and he’d make a point to talk to all the coach’s, all the coach’s wives, and treat them like they were really something. He really treated people with respect and then, the other side of him, like I said, he enjoyed life. He would rather tell a joke or tell a story or hear a joke or hear a story then anything that’s real serious. But, when he had to be serious he’d get down and be as serious as anyone. And, when that wasn’t needed he was just going to enjoy the moment.”

Q: Many players recall the immaculate reception game. What do you remember about it?

Madden: “Yeah, I’ll never forget that game. He did. He came in off the bench and the Steelers didn’t know a lot about Stabler at that time, and they gave him a little room to his left in there pass rush, and he ran, and he ran for a touchdown, and that put us ahead. So that set up the immaculate reception. Now, the Steelers were behind, time was running out, it was a fourth down play, the immaculate reception was, and the last play, last ditch effort, and then that happened. So, he set up the situation that put them behind, that made them get into that mode to make that drive.”

Q: Did you ever wonder if the dynasty would have been different if they didn’t win that game?

Madden: “No, it wouldn’t have been different. I mean, they lost the next week, I think, but that was just the start of their dynasty. I think they probably realized then that, that they had put together a pretty good team, a very good coaching staff and they were ready to make their move. I think that was a thing. I don’t think that they realized that this is the start of the dynasty, but this is definitely our turnaround in the playoffs, going in the right direction now. And, we’re not going to be the same old Steelers.”

Q: What do you credit his, just innate ability to throw the football and get the ball to open receivers?

Madden: “You know that was what he had and do it quickly. I mean he had a thing that would always set in his mind from the time he saw something until the ball left his hand, was the quickest mechanism that I’ve ever seen. And, I don’t know how you measure that or I don’t know exactly what that is, but I mean some guys see it, then they’re going to step, then they’re going to throw, and then it’s too late. I mean he sees it, boom. It would come out and then, you say with great accuracy and that’s what a quarterback has to have. When Kenny Stabler came to us that’s what he had. He didn’t have the strongest arm, but he had a very accurate arm, and he knew where to go with the ball and he could see and read quickly, and then when he read something, and saw and it read it quickly, the ball would be out of his hands. And the thing that I always liked about him, is, I made a statement yesterday, that up until this day, if I had you know, one drive, or we had to make a drive to win the game, I’d want Kenny Stabler as a quarterback. And you just think of, in those situations, and in those drives when he would, when he gets in his drop, in his drop back, and his drop and that back foot would set, then he would stand straight up. I mean, he would get, I don’t know if you ever remembered this or would have seen this, he would get taller. He would make himself taller in the pocket. There’s some guys that tend to make themselves smaller in the pocket, Kenny Stabler would go back and then he would rise. You just think, that’s the way he played. The bigger the situation I’m going to get back, I’m going to get to the head of my drop and I’m going to step and I’m going to rise and then I’m going to rise to the occasion, and that’s what he did. And then, like you say, he just had great accuracy. To me, that was a natural thing more than a taught thing.”

Pro Football Hall Of Fame Willie Brown Remembers Kenny “The Snake” Stabler

Photo by Shawn Jonas

On Thursday, Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown appeared on Sirius XM NFL Radio’s Movin’ The Chains with Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller to discuss the legacy of the Raiders legend.

Ken Stabler and Willie Brown were teammates from 1970-78 and were key members of the team that won Super Bowl XI 32-14 over the Minnesota Vikings.

During his time on the air, Brown touched on a variety of topics regarding Stabler, including the quarterback’s demeanor as well as the championship season of 1976.

Willie  Brown’s Remembers “The Snake.”

On Ken Stabler:

Brown: “My first reaction when I heard the news about him was that I was concerned about his family, and to make sure that his family was okay. It’s a tough time for them, a tough time for everybody who came in contact with “Snake” Stabler because of the way he was. I hope the family’s okay. It’s tough when two of your colleagues – Former Detroit Lions Tight End Charlie Sanders just died – he’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, now it’s Kenny. Those kinds of things – you don’t realize it, or understand what happened. They happen so fast, before you have a chance to really react to them. Snake was a great quarterback, there’s no question about it. He helped me out a lot and I helped him a lot in practice by going one-on-one with the wide receivers and him. He was very competitive. He did his own thing. He was ready to play come Sunday. That was the best thing about him. Playing came easy for him. He was a great leader. He was a great Raider and he should be in the Hall of Fame.”

Q: On if close games brought out the best in Stabler:

Brown: “There was no question about it. When he said something, you listened and did what he said. Again, he was a great ballplayer. He had a lot of support around him. We were all together. His teammates loved him, in particular the offensive line. He hung out with those guys more than anybody. He and Fred Biletnikoff, Gene Upshaw, Art Shell, all those guys, Dave Casper. We lost a great friend.”

Q: On Stabler’s relationship with Al Davis:

Brown: “They had a good relationship. When you’re talking about your number-one quarterback, you have to have a good relationship with him. It doesn’t have to be great, but I know Mr. Davis had a lot of respect for Snake; a lot of respect because he was a winner. He knew how to win and he knew exactly about the system. He knew about Al Davis. He knew about assistant coaches. [People] tend to believe that he did not have a good relationship with Mr. Davis, but he did.”

Q: On the 1976 season:

Brown: “No question about it, that was one of the best years that we had. Not only that game, but Snake had a lot of great games. If you look at the tape and film on Snake, you looked at how he played in all those games – he played well. Snake had a fantastic career and he had a great game, but that particular year he was clicking on everything. He couldn’t do anything wrong. We knew that we had a shot that following year after the season we went to the Super Bowl. We knew we were coming back together – if the team stayed intact that we could win this thing, and there was no way we could have won it without Kenny Stabler.” 

Stabler’s demeanor:

Brown: “I know that getting ready in the locker room he was just nice and loose. He wasn’t uptight. He wasn’t walking around in a corner and hiding himself. He’d get up. He’d move around and say, ‘okay boys,’ in that Southern accent of his. He’d say, ‘okay, boys, we’re going to go get them today,’ stuff like that. We’d say, ‘okay, Snake, whatever you say.’ He was just that kind of guy. He didn’t get uptight and wasn’t tight before the game or anything. He was nice and loose, ready to go.”

On the Divisional Playoff game against the Baltimore Colts in 1977:

Brown: “The game was pretty tight. Baltimore, they thought they had it, but knowing Snake and what he could do and how he played in that game, I knew we had a shot at it to win the game, because Snake was, like I said, very competitive. He was a challenging guy. If there was something there he was going to challenge it, going after All-Pros, going after whoever was playing in those particular positions. He was going to take advantage of it because he was very smart, and he knew his teammates, and he knew what they could do and what they couldn’t do. He knew everything that his teammates could do for him. He did the rest. There he was on the sideline, cool and calm. He wasn’t upset about anything. He was ready to roll. In that Baltimore game, we knew we had a shot. As long as there was some time on the clock, get the ball to Snake and he would get a touchdown for you.”

AFL PARTNERS WITH JASON FOUNDATION FOR SECOND ANNUAL “JASON’S WEEK”

Photo by Shawn Jonas

LAS VEGAS – The Arena Football League (AFL) has once again partnered with the Jason Foundation to host

“Jason’s Week” during Week 16 of the 2015 AFL season.

The Jason Foundation is an organization dedicated to the prevention of the “Silent Epidemic” of youth suicide through awareness and educational programs that equip young people, educators, youth workers and parents with the tools and resources to help identify and assist at-risk youth.

The second annual “Jason’s Week” will run through Week 16 and serve to raise awareness and support prevention of youth suicide through in-game operations and social media campaigns. All AFL games will feature Jason Foundation information booths, video presentations and t-shirt giveaways. League and team representatives will also wear special Jason Foundation lapel pins on game days.

In addition, the AFL will present the Jason Foundation Community Service Award at ArenaBowl XXVIII to the AFL team most active in their communities throughout the season.

Press Release Courtesy to the San Jose SaberCats Media Relations

Sacramento River Cats Blow Early Lead, Come Back to Win In Extras 5-4

All Photos by Shawn Jonas

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA. – It was a roller coaster kind of night for the Sacramento River Cats as they defeated the Fresno Grizzlies 5-4 with a walk-off in extra innings. After blowing an early lead, Sacramento came back to force extra frames before walking things off in the bottom of the 13th on a Kevin Frandsen RBI-double.

With two outs in the 13th, the River Cats finally broke through on Frandsen’s walk-off double to left-center. Two batters earlier, Kelby Tomlinson picked up his second hit of the night, a two-out single to center, before stealing second. With first base open, the Grizzlies elected to intentionally walk Ryan Lollis and face Frandsen. Frandsen, who entered the game in the seventh inning in place of the ejected Adam Duvall, sent a double into the gap to score Tomlinson and send the River Cats home with their sixth extra-inning win of the season.

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Sacramento staked themselves to an early lead as Duvall mashed a three-run home run in the bottom of the first. The homer was Duvall’s 17th of the season, making him the active home run leader in the PCL.

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The Grizzlies got two back in the next inning on a two-run homer from Tyler White. The two runs were the only two that River Cats’ starter Clayton Blackburn (3-3, 4.07) would allow. The right-hander threw 5.2 innings, giving up the 2 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 7.

Things took a turn for the worse in the seventh, as the Grizzlies scored twice to take a 4-3 lead. Duvall was also ejected in the inning after arguing with first base umpire Adam Schwarz. Receiving a throw at first, Duvall was ruled to have missed the bag and Fresno’s Robbie Grossman was called safe.

The River Cats countered again, getting a run in the eighth to tie the game at four. After Carlos Triunfel roped a triple off the top of the wall in left-center, he scored on a sacrifice fly by Ronny Cedeno.

The bullpen was excellent for Sacramento in the win as five different pitchers put together 7.1 innings of two-run ball. Mike Broadway and Brett Bochy allowed just two baserunners in four innings of work from the 10th through 13th innings.

Left-hander Nik Turley (3-3, 6.21) gets the nod for Sacramento tomorrow night. The southpaw beat Fresno in their first meeting, throwing 6 shutout innings at Chukchansi Park. For the Grizzlies, it’ll be fellow southpaw Luis Cruz (4-4, 4.87). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.

Game Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Sacramento River Cats Splits Doubleheader Against Reno Aces

RENO, Nev. – After a surprise rain storm postponed last night’s scheduled game, the Sacramento River Cats and Reno Aces competed in a doubleheader Tuesday night. After a two and a half hour rain delay set back first pitch of game one, the River Cats finally got things under way, splitting the two games with Reno (L, 1-2; W, 6-2).

Game One

Newly acquired Tommy Hanson (0-1, 4.50) made his River Cats debut in the opening game. Hanson struggled out of the gate, allowing three two-out walks in the first before escaping the bases-loaded jam. He finished his first Sacramento start going 4 innings, allowing 2 runs on 7 hits, walking 5 and striking out 2.

Sacramento had chances to strike, loading the bases with two gone in the third, but a groundout to shortstop ended the threat. Finally, in the seventh and final inning of game one, the River Cats converted on a rally as with runners on the corners and nobody out, Carlos Triunfel grounded out to drive in Sacramento’s first and only run of the night.

Game Two

The River Cats finally got some offense going, as they struck for their first run in the fourth. With the bases loaded, Ty Blach helped his cause by hitting a sacrifice fly. Sacramento again loaded the bases in the fifth, and after a walk to Brett Jackson and a hit by pitch by Trevor Brown, the River Cats held a comfortable 3-0 lead. They added another run on an Adam Duvall sacrifice fly in the sixth, and two more in the seventh on a Trevor Brown RBI-double and a Darren Ford RBI-single.

Blach (7-8, 4.21) kept to his winning ways on Tuesday, recording his second consecutive win. He allowed just 2 runs on 6 hits, walking 1 and striking out 5 over 5.1 innings of work. The late start had no effect on Blach, as the second game of the double header began at after 10:30 p.m. and ended early Wednesday morning at 12:55 a.m.
This was the first doubleheader the River Cats have played in the 2015 season. Last season, the River Cats competed in three, winning two and splitting one.

The River Cats now head home to the warm weather of Sacramento to begin a five game series with the rival Fresno Grizzlies. The series will lead into the 2015 All Star Break, which occurs July 13-15. Pitching for the River Cats tomorrow will be right-hander Chris Stratton. Stratton is coming off of back-to-back 8 inning starts in which he allowed no runs and received no decisions in both. Opposing him will be Mark Appel (0-1, 10.38). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.

Recap Courtesy to the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Raley Field Welcomes Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team

Unique Doubleheader Saturday July 11 Includes Both WWAST and River Cats Games

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento River Cats are honored to welcome the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) to Raley Field this Saturday, July 11. The WWAST will take on the Sacramento All-Stars at 3:30 p.m. in game one of a Raley Field doubleheader. The River Cats will then host their division rivals, the Fresno Grizzlies, at 7:05 p.m.

The WWAST is made up of brave men and women, both veterans and active duty soldiers, from four of the five service branches, who have sustained injuries resulting in amputation. Through extensive rehabilitation, they have become competitive athletes again, playing against able-bodied teams in competitive, celebrity, and exhibition games across the country.

In what is their first ever visit to Raley Field, the WWAST will take on the Sacramento All-Stars, a team composed of local personalities and celebrities, including retired Sacramento Kings Bobby Jackson, former NFL player Adrian Ross, Sacramento Kings Announcer Scott Moak, KCRA Sports Anchor Lisa Gonzales, Carmichael Dave of CBS Radio, and more. The two teams are set to take the field at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 11 following a special Missing Man Formation flyover.

Following the WWAST/Sacramento All-Stars game, the “best rivalry in baseball” will continue as the River Cats will host the division-leading Fresno Grizzlies in game four of a five-game set. This will be the final weekend of the 2015 season in which Sacramento will host the Highway 99 Series, as the two teams will square off for a final time in August at Chukchansi Park in Fresno. First pitch for part two of the doubleheader is set for 7:05 p.m.
In addition to functioning as an outlet for veterans and active duty soldiers to compete athletically, the WWAST uses these cross-country games to raise funds for the WWAST Kids Camp, medical research, and rehabilitation equipment. In its third year, the WWAST Kids Camp seeks to empower young boys and girls with amputations. The camps are led by WWAST players, who work as coaches and mentors, helping teach not just softball skills, but more importantly life skills as well.

Tickets for the doubleheader are still available and can be purchased by visiting www.rivercats.com/gamelink, selecting “Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Game” and entering the promo code WWAST.

Courtesy to the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations